I know all about this fabled tradition in baseball: Don’t talk about a no-hitter in progress.
But you know what: I’ve stepped on many cracks and my mother never has suffered a broken back.
I am as superstitous as anyone, but I can’t agree with the approach Angels announcers Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza took in calling Jared Weaver’s no-hitter Wednesday.
According to Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times, the TV announcers opted not to discuss Weaver’s no-hit bid. One word, they thought, and they could doom his chance to make history.
Said Rojas, the son of Cookie Rojas:
Some people say jinxes have no place in sports, but that’s just how I am. I didn’t move from my position after the third inning, I didn’t move any paper. I put my pens back in the same spot. That’s just who I am.
It’s a touchy situation. It’s a great discussion to have. There’s no set rule book. I don’t have an issue about saying it, but my job as an analyst is just to describe why Jered is pitching so well.
However, the problem with that approach is that we live in the age of the remote and a million TV channels. People are flipping all the time. You can’t assume everyone watched from the first pitch.
I wonder how many people missed out on Weaver’s bid because when they tuned during the eighth inning, they thought he only was pitching a shutout. The announcers didn’t tell the viewers otherwise.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star wrote:
(Rojas) tweeted about the game while it was in progress, but again he stepped all around it without mentioning the no-hitter: “7th inning stretch time w Angels up 9-0. My suggestion to you is to find a TV or tune in a radio. Weaver w 8 K’s.”
And then later: “We’re headed to the 9th w/ a SoCal boy back on the hill to try & finish this one off. 8 K’s/1 BB 9-0.”
Apparently, it was OK to mention that Weaver had eight strikeouts, but the fact he had given up no hits was taboo. But the Twitterverse was full of Weaver talk. Even the Angels themselves tweeted about it: “Jered Weaver has not allowed a hit through 8 innings against the Twins.”
Jon Miller said in Pucin’s article an announcer has to talk about the no-hitter, jinxes be damned.
I feel like I have a responsibility to my audience, to the station, to the network, to say what’s going on. Plus, I want to maximize my audience. If someone hears from me about a no-hitter, he might call others or text or email and that helps my audience get larger. Some guys use all kinds of euphemisms, talking about ‘no runs, nothing at all,’ they make a game of it. I just think, if it’s a big story, mention it. But it’s a quaint old baseball thing. I don’t blame anybody for doing a game any way they want.